Carter and Fez were standing in the middle of the road in the Shopping Mall, staring blankly at the people around them. Everyone around them was nervous and happy, and all of them carried something in their hands. There were a few people that rested on the benches on the side of the road with snacks in their hands.
Carter had a grim expression. Anyone would easily realize how much profit the Shopping Mall could bring to someone. He was pissed because he was the one who had given it all up; it had previously all belonged to him. He wanted to take it all back. He didn’t bother to think about where the Shopping Mall came from or why there was no Shopping Mall in the time he had been the noble here. He didn’t want to think about it, either.
I must take this territory back! I will take it back! This is mine! All mine! Carter thought, clenching his fist. As long as I have the Shopping Mall, I don’t need to go to the central land! I can just stay here! The Shopping Mall here will allow me to have a better life than counts! When I take back this territory, I will move to live in the Shopping Mall and just watch the coins stack up. I can just take whatever I want to eat or use from the Shopping Mall. Even if they give me the position of a king- cough cough – a count, I won’t leave this place!
Fez looked at the somewhat insane Carter and asked worriedly, “Lord Father, are you okay?”
Carter took a deep breath and said, “Go get ready. We’re going to go visit Baron Liu Feng.
“What?” Fez was dumbfounded as the decision was a bit too sudden. “Wait, Lord Father, why are we visiting him?”
“Idiot!” Carter raised his hand and slapped Fez on the face. “Don’t you see what’s happening right now? We must take back this territory by any means necessary.”
Fez touched his face with his hands and slightly shrank back. He hadn’t been hit by Carter for many years and was about to say something when he saw Liu Feng in the distance. “Lord Father, look, Liu Feng is over there.” Fez tugged Carter’s clothes and pointed in a direction.
“Don’t expose us. It’s not the time to see him yet,” Carter said, pressing down on Fez’s head with his hand. They then turned around and randomly pointed at this from time to time.
“An illusion?” Mina muttered, turning her head and looking at the crowd. She had felt someone watching them.
“What’s wrong,” Anri asked?
Mina shook her head and got closer to Liu Feng. She swept the surroundings with a sharp expression in her eyes, causing many people to be scared to look at her.
Liu Feng raised his hand and patted Mina’s head. “Okay, you can stop now. Your eyes are going to be sore if you continue this. Don’t worry, the War Wolves are in the crowd.”
Tory blinked. War Wolves? What is that? There’s a wolf in the crowd? Or is it a wolf beastkin?
“Mhmm.” Mina blushed and quietly put away the military knife in her hand.
Liu Feng turned his head and asked, “Sir Tory, how do you feel today?”
“I feel very good. Today is the only day I truly felt happy,” Tory said. “This Shopping Mall is the best place I’ve ever been to. It’s a pity there’s no such place in Bei Feng City.”
These words made Nicole grin. Even “The Love Diary of a Noble Girl” written by Princess Lucy didn’t talk about a shopping mall. How could your Bei Feng City have it?
“Then you can come over here often, or you can open a store here,” Liu Feng said, smiling. Some core aspects of a shopping mall could be copied; they were just hard to implement because it was easy to lose money when not done correctly. It cost a ton just to take care of the infrastructure aspect. Liu Feng had cement, people, and resolve to do so, which is why he was able to make the Shopping Mall without spending too much money.
“Am I really allowed to open a store here?” Tory asked. “Lord Liu Feng, you’re not joking, are you?”
Liu Feng shook his head. “No, I’m serious. You also saw many stores inside that were closed, did you not? All of them can be rented out. You just need to pay rent and taxes every year.” Taxes were his ultimate goal and would be the core of his wealth. As long as someone does business, they would have to pay taxes.
“Taxes? Do nobles also have to pay too?” Tory asked, frowning. It wasn’t unheard of for a noble to pay taxes to other nobles, but it was extremely rare.
“Of course. In my territory, everyone has to pay taxes when they do business, no matter who they are,” Liu Feng said.
“I understand. I will go back and discuss it with my father,” Tory said. He didn’t agree as it was a matter of the dignity of nobles. He didn’t have the power to do so.
“It has been a tiring day. Let’s go back and rest,” Liu Feng said, stretching his arms and leading the way out.
Tory was distressed when he came out of the Shopping Mall. He had bought too many things and hadn’t brought a carriage.
“The carriage over there, here, here!” Someone next to him shouted.
Clip-clop, clip-clop, clip-clop.
Someone soon drove over a carriage and asked the man, “Customer, where do you want to go?” The carriage was a flatbed carriage, and there was a wooden sign at the back that said: “Limited to Four People”.
“North of the city…” The man gave an address, climbed into the carriage, and handed over two steel coins.
The carriage quickly left, leaving Tory dumbfounded. He turned and looked at Liu Feng. “Lord Liu Feng, that person doesn’t own the carriage, does he?”
“Of course not. The row of carriages over there, including the one that just left, all belong to the City Lord’s Mansion. To help people get around better, the City Lord’s Mansion lent out some of the unused carriages to help commoners get around easier within Xi Yang City. They just need to pay two steel coins to use them.”
“That- that’s amazing. How come no one has thought of it before?” Tory asked, a little overwhelmed.
Liu Feng smiled. It’s not that no one thought of it, but no one was willing to do it. The nobles with a ton of horses didn’t care about the minuscule amount of money that could be made from this. Besides, there wasn’t a smaller currency before, and no commoner would be willing to spend a copper coin to use the carriage for one trip.
“Lord Liu Feng, you are a genius. You should go to the capital. You deserve to be in the position of a minister,” Tory said.
Liu Feng only smiled faintly in response.
Neither a golden nest nor a silver nest is as good as my own nest.¹ Besides, I believe that Xi Yang City will soon become a golden nest that will be the envy of the world.
¹ Reference to Aesop’s Fables “The Honest Woodcutter”. It’s basically about a god asking whether he dropped a golden axe or a silver axe, but he says that none were his and when the god presented him his axe did he claim ownership.